Adding another piece to its inspection and metrology framework, KLA-Tencor will acquire scanning electron microscope manufacturer Amray Inc., Bedford, MA, in a stock swap deal. KLA-Tencor sees the acquisition as a fast-track way of bringing additional defect review and classification capabilities to its stable, said senior VP of strategic business development Sam Harrell. "After you collect defect data on an optical system, some of the defects can be reviewed optically, and some require a SEM. This will allow us to classify defects much more rapidly," he explained.
KLA-Tencor plans to port its automated defect classification software to the Amray tools, thus allowing the SEM to quickly locate and image the detected defects. Harrell added that the move "is a direct result of the SIA Roadmap acceleration," which will require defect review for the sub-0.25-?m regime in the very near future.
Amray`s products are sold into a variety of laboratory and research markets, but the firm`s best growth opportunities are in the semiconductor industry, said Harrell. He declined to disclose Amray revenues, but said they are on the order of $25 million; the company is profitable, and the deal is expected to have a positive effect on earnings. KLA-Tencor has SEM capabilities in two other areas - a critical dimension measurement tool, and the SEMspec mask inspection system. Harrell said the acquisition path made more sense than internal development of a defect classification machine because "the need for this type of tool has accelerated quickly, and this lets us get there more quickly. It`s the best thing we can do for our customers."
Schlumberger Automatic Test Equipment, San Jose, CA, has shipped its ITS 9000IX systems to Sun Microsystems Inc. The 400 MHz VLSI systems will test SPARC and ASIC chips for Sun`s next generation of workstations and servers.
AG Associates, San Jose, CA, has received an order for two Heatpulse 800 RTP systems from Hitachi, which will use the systems at its Device Development Center in Ohme, Japan. The systems are equipped with a new steam generation capability for growing thin oxide layers on wafers.
Cognex Corp., Natick, MA, a supplier of machine vision systems, has received an order worth about $1 million from F&K Delvotec Bondtechnik GmbH, Ottobrunn, Germany. The systems will ship through mid-1999. F&K will integrate the Cognex systems into its die and wire bonding equipment.
Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc., Willow Grove, PA, will supply integration-ready front-of-line assembly equipment to Focused Technology Corp., a startup contract assembler. The equipment, from dicing through wire bond, will be installed in Focused Technology`s first factory in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Ultratech Stepper Inc., San Jose, CA, a supplier of photolithography systems, has shipped its UltraBeam business unit`s V2000 electron beam lithography system to Photronics Inc., Jupiter, FL. The system will be used in the production of advanced reticles for ICs with 0.25-?m and below design rules.
TSSI, Beaverton, OR, has entered a strategic alliance with Microchip Technology, under which the companies plan to develop a product line supporting IEEE`s P1450 Standard Test Interface Language, to be used as a database for test generation simulation.
MicroUnity Systems Engineering Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, has licensed its MaskTools OPC software to Innova Inc., a supplier of photomasks to Taiwan`s semiconductor manufacturers. Innova will use the software to produce OPC masks including 0.25-?m and below designs.
Testronics, McKinney, TX, has spun off its Semiconductor Test Systems Division to a newly formed company, SemiTek International, which will manufacture the product line that includes the 201 Discrete Semiconductor Test System.
Etec Systems has broken ground on its project to build a new manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, OR. The 176,800-ft2 building will replace the company`s current 60,000-ft2 facility in Beaverton, OR. Set on a 15.2 acre site, the new facility will accommodate 380 employees by 2001 and house a 60,000-ft2 cleanroom and advanced process laboratory capable of supporting both laser and e-beam system manufacturing.
Solvay Advanced Polymers Inc., Houston, TX, and Dyneon LLC, Oakdale, MN, have formed a joint venture, named Alventia LLC, to build and operate a plant to produce vinylidene fluoride monomer (VF2). Located in Decatur, AL, the plant will have an annual capacity of more than 5000 tons and come onstream by mid-1999.
Luxell Technologies Inc., Mississauga, Ontario, a maker of flat panel thin-film electroluminescent displays, has received a contract from GEC-Marconi Avionic`s Defense Systems Division in the United Kingdom. Display systems will be used in the Sky Guardian 2000 radar warning receiver.
Varian Associates Inc., Palo Alto, CA, is planning a $25 million expansion to its Gloucester, MA, semiconductor equipment manufacturing facility. The Gloucester plant makes ion implantation systems. The expansion will increase the size of the plant by more than 30%, and will include ultraclean manufacturing and testing facilities.
MG Industries, Malvern, PA, has signed an agreement to acquire two air separation plants in California from AGA Gas Co. Inc. The plants, located in Los Angeles and San Francisco, produce oxygen, nitrogen, and argon. MG implemented the move to better service customers in the West. MG also has air separation plants in Tijuana, Mexico, and Kalama, WA, which produces hydrogen and ultra high purity oxygen.
Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), Andover, MA, has been awarded a research contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency through the US Army Aviation and Missile Command to develop a rapid controlled and selective etching tool for semiconductor processing. PSI has also been awarded a research contract from the National Science Foundation to develop a hypervelocity neutral beam tool for selective, damage-free, and anisotropic etching of silicon dioxide using a hyperthermal fluorine atom beam based on PSI`s fast atom sample tester technology.
Leybold Materials Inc., Morgan Hill, CA, has signed an agreement with Poco Graphite Inc., Decatur, TX, under which Leybold will become the approved source for Poco`s HDX-2 carbon targets for thin-film applications. The two companies are also working together to develop the next generation of target materials, merging their expertise in carbon technology and sputter applications.
Laurier Inc., Manchester, NH, a maker of flexible automation systems for the semiconductor industry, plans to move its entire operations to larger facilities at the Manchester Airport Industrial Park in Londonderry, NH. The move will triple manufacturing space, providing room for new die-from-wafer and die-from-waffle pack product lines.
Acton Research Corp., Acton, MA, a maker of precision optics and spectral instrumentation, will open a second operating facility in Acton. The new facility will add 20,000 ft2 for spectral instrument manufacturing, a dedicated applications laboratory, systems development, sales, and administration. The facility will be dedicated to increased optical coating manufacturing and research for DUV optics in the semiconductor and other emerging growth markets.
Advantest America Inc. will move its US headquarters from Buffalo Grove, IL, to Santa Clara, CA, this September. The move will bring together in one location the management of Advantest`s three US operations. The Santa Clara location also brings the company near the heart of the US semiconductor industry.
3M Electronic Products Division, Austin, TX, has selected Luscombe Engineering Components Co. to represent the division in the Southern California area. 3M designs, manufactures, and markets electronic packaging and interconnect systems.
Canon Inc., Santa Clara, CA, has received Japan`s Ministry of International Trade and Industry`s 32nd annual Minister`s Top Prize. Canon won for its development of high-speed flat panel display optical exposure equipment by synchronized scanning method. This technology was incorporated into Canon`s new mirror projection aligner MPA-5000 for volume production of flat panel displays.
Manuela Boin has won second prize in the business plan competition, StartUp in the region of Wuerttemberg, Germany, for her "Development and Marketing of Software Products for the International Semiconductor Industry." The plan describes the planned set up of a company offering products and services to equipment vendors, IC manufacturers, and research institutes in the semiconductor industry. StartUp is a nationwide competition of business plans initiated by the German magazine Stern, the banking association Sparkasse, and consultants McKinsey & Co.
Lepco Inc., Houston, TX, a designer of advanced technology facilities, has received the 1997 Design/Build of the Year Award for its excellence in all aspects of the design, construction, and service of Input/Output`s new 110,000-ft2 MEMS manufacturing facility.
Company and supplier awards
ENI, Rochester, NY, a maker of radio frequency and DC high power conversion products, has given its ENI High Power Award for Supplier Excellence to Future Electronics, Hamilton Hallmark, and Simcona Electronics, each a distributor of electronic components, and Nationwide Circuits, a maker of printed circuit boards. Suppliers are evaluated on quality, delivery, pricing, schedule flexibility, KanBan or EDI stocking programs, and service.
The Vacuum Products Group of MKS Instruments, Boulder, CO, has received the Supplier Quality Award from Novellus Systems Inc. in recognition of outstanding quality performance in 1997.
Applied Materials Inc., Santa Clara, CA, has shipped its 100th silicon etch DPS Centura system. The system was introduced only 19 months ago. More than 85% of the systems are being used in high-volume production fabs. More than 50% of these fabs are designed for 0.25-?m production.
Asyst Technologies Inc., Fremont, CA, a supplier of minienvironments and SMIF-based technology, has received its 200th SMIF-integrated design win from Novellus Systems Inc. The milestone product is an Asyst SMIF-LPI (load port interface) that will be integrated with Novellus` Sequel, Prism, Altus, and Speed tools.
ENI, Rochester, NY, has manufactured its 10,000th OEM-12B plasma generator. The RF power generator is used primarily for plasma etch, CVD, and sputtering applications. The product was introduced in 1994.
SEMATECH`s Karen Brown steps down. SEMATECH lithography director Karen Brown, who is widely credited with moving the consortium`s litho development efforts into a new era, will step down later this year in favor of Gerhard Gross, a high-level executive from Siemens.
Gross, who is head of lithography coordination for the German chipmaker, will reportedly arrive at SEMATECH`s Austin headquarters this month, with Brown staying on until mid to late summer during a transitional period. The changeover has been announced internally at SEMATECH.
Brown`s tenure at SEMATECH began in 1994 and will have lasted close to four years; this is longer than the typical stint of two to three years, and was reportedly extended because of the many projects that were in the works over the last 12 months. These include the international 193-nm development seminars, last fall`s global workshop on post-optical lithography techniques, and the work leading up to the recent formation of International SEMATECH, which will take over lithography development responsibility from the traditional all-US SEMATECH.
While some members of the lithographic community may have disagreed with Brown on technical issues from time to time, there has been wide respect and admiration for her ability to bring different groups together and "(make) the lions and tigers sit on the stools," as one researcher said last fall.
Varian names VP. Dennis Key, former VP of sales and field operations at Lam Research, has been named VP of sales and marketing for Varian Associates` Semiconductor Equipment business unit.
Key, who will report to executive VP Dick Aurelio, had been working as a consultant since leaving Lam last year. He said he had held a number of discussions with Varian executives and noted, "I believe Varian has strong intentions to grow in this market, and become a larger semiconductor equipment presence. They know my style, and had sought maybe a little different style than they had in the past. I might tend to be more aggressive.... The more I talked with them, and looked over the situation, the better it seemed."
Key`s predecessor, Giovanni Nocerino, left in late 1997 to become executive VP at CVC Products, Rochester, NY, working out of that firm`s Fremont, CA, office and reporting to president and chairman Christine Whitman.
Since divesting its thin-film unit last year, Varian`s equipment business has focused on ion implant, with most manufacturing done in Gloucester, MA. Key will be based in Dallas, equidistant from Gloucester and the company`s California support center and close to several major accounts.
Key, who oversaw Lam`s four-year sales jump from $172 million to over $1 billion, said he hopes that by taking the helm during this choppy period in the equipment industry, he can help bring some new strength to the Varian team, and also relieve Aurelio, who had been holding the sales and marketing fort. "Dick has been stressed, and I`ll enjoy taking the load off him," said Key.
K&S reorganization. The departure of Asuri "Rags" Raghavan from the top position in Kulicke & Soffa`s equipment group might prompt a reorganization of the group.
Just after the recent disclosure of Raghavan`s resignation to take over as CEO of GaSonics, K&S president Scott Kulicke reportedly told securities analysts in a conference call that the equipment operation would be divided into two units: one to handle wire bonders, and one to handle all other types of equipment. Internal candidates to head the bonder group were said to be under consideration.
A few days later, however, a company spokesman said the decision to divide the group has not yet been taken. "What Scott said could change -I don`t think it`s a definitive decision," said the spokesman. He noted that Raghavan`s departure had been a sudden development and said, "it just happened, and it`s a big decision. We will do whatever is in the best interests of our customers and shareholders." Both internal and external candidates will be considered for any available management posts, he added.
AMD`s senior debt has been placed on Rating Watch-Down by Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. (DCR) after the chipmaker said losses in 1Q would increase over 4Q results. The announcement should not come as a surprise to AMD, which, despite the expected 1Q losses and 4Q results, has said that it will need to increase capital investments, and that its ability to spend more would be dependent on its ability to raise funds through external financing. DCR, however, said the increased spending on expected losses would have a negative effect on the company`s credit quality. "Whereas competitor Intel has also signaled a weak 1Q of 1998, the causes appear to be different," DCR officials said. "Intel cites weak demand. Conversely, demand for AMD`s K6 microprocessor has benefited from the market`s interest in sub-$1000 PCs. AMD says it can ship all the microprocessors it can make; it just can`t make enough."
Closed ion source gas analyzers
The CIS series closed ion gas analyzers offer better than 1 ppm detection limit for all gases and direct sampling at mtorr pressure. A real-time Windows software package is provided for on-line process monitoring and control, gas purity verification, residual gas analysis, and leak checking applications. The systems have a mass range up to 300 amu, complete programmability, and multiple head operation. Stanford Research Systems Inc., Sunnyvale, CA; ph 408/744-9040, fax 408/744-9049.
Backside wafer polishing tool
The Chip UnZip auto-polisher safely and automatically thins backside silicon to permit light from chip-level defects to be imaged by emission microscopes. Packaged devices and single devices on wafers are thinned to 50-200 ?m of remaining silicon. After thinning, even weak defect emissions can be captured. Frontside circuitry is then illuminated through the thinned backside window to make a reference image. Polishing the thinned silicon - the bottom of the window - enhances detail and resolution in the illuminated image. The auto-polisher uses a digitally metered spray to deliver a precise quantity of diamond slurry to the polishing tool. Hypervision Inc., Fremont, CA; ph 510/651-7768, fax 510/651-1415, e-mail danielhurley@ compuserve.com
300-mm motionless dryer
The Omega2000 uses motionless surface tension gradient cleaning, rinsing, and drying technology to produce dry particle neutral hydrophobic or hydrophilic wafers at 0.16 ?m. It can be used stand-alone or integrated onto a wet bench, and has a MTBF of 3000. The system features the CleanPOINT filtration unit, which removes particles from DI water down to 0.065 ?m. Use of ultrapure water to rinse the substrates eliminates the major sources of contamination and particulates. No haze, streaks, or stains are left on the wafers. YieldUP International, Mountain View, CA; ph 510/461-4440, e-mail rsandoval@ yieldup-sales.com.
NOBLE wafer-processing furnaces consist of three series. (Single or multiple stacks are available for all diffusion and LPCVD applications.) The IPS Series 26 is a complete furnace processing system with an automated loading bay, gas controls, and process chamber. It provides full dimensioning and specifications for processing wafers from 50 to 150 mm. Series 812 provides small-batch processing for 200- and 300-mm wafers in a fully integrated, small-footprint package. The BT (bench top) furnace range is designed for projects that can be customized and configured for the requirements of R&D. Canary Technology, Fremont, CA; ph 510/803-2173, fax 510/829-5723, www. canarytech.com.
200-mm process tank
This 200-mm process tank is injection-molded from very high-purity material; single and dual capacity tanks are available. Features include a smooth surface finish that is nonabrasive and easy to clean; strong and seamless construction; and PFA, PVDF, or polypropylene material options. It joins a line consisting of 75-, 100-, 125-, and 150-mm injection-molded tanks. Fluoroware Inc., Chaska, MN; ph 612/448-8193, fax 612/368-4078.
Toxic gas monitoring
This company`s hazardous and toxic gas monitors now interface with Sierra Monitor`s Model 8000 Communications Bridge, a link that eliminates the need for expensive hardwire interfaces. Use of the Bridge reduces setup to monitor for a new gas to a simple software change by converting monitor data to common PLC protocols used throughout the fab. The standard monitor relays can be wired simultaneously with the Bridge connections, allowing either signal to trip an automatic shutdown, warn, or alarm. TeloSense Corp., Fremont, CA; ph 510/490-2087, fax 510/490-6485, www. telosense.com.
Die sorting system
The DS-7000S is a fully automatic pick-and-place die sorting system that handles wafer sizes up to 8 in. from an automatic magazine input. Features include barcode automation, ink dot recognition, wafer mapping, and programmable wafer stretching. An intelligent vision system guarantees wafer alignment, first die recognition, and die position accuracy. Automated output carriers load up to 400 waffle packs at a time, and eight output stacks accommodate up to 480 carriers with identical continuous unload capability. Software designed by this company handles all system functions, offers wafer map graphics, and provides network communications and complete data traceability. Laurier Inc., Manchester, NH; ph 603/626-4700, fax 603/626-4242.
PROTAVIC CM 3270 FC is an electro-conductive, one-component, pure silver-filled adhesive with fast curing characteristics. It reduces the length and temperature of the bake while maintaining good mechanical and electrical properties. Low viscosity allows a fast dispense in line onto the leadframe, with a single or multi-needle dispenser; adhesive drops are regular and there is no tailing. Pot life is 24 hours. This product has applications to medium-size ICs, since a reduction of the curing temperature below 150?C is a good way to reduce the stresses on sensitive semiconductors. Low bleeding allows manufacture of very sensitive devices. Protavic, Paris, France; ph 33/141-341400, e-mail email@example.com
Programmable microscope stage
This precision programmable motorized stepper stage, the H116, provides a full 10 ? 8.5 in. (256 ? 215 mm) travel and has all fittings for users` specific microscope or optical system. It is well-suited to such applications as wafers (up to 200 mm), FPDs, and wafer masks. Step size (resolution) is from 0.1 to 10 ?m, depending on stage and controller configuration. Optional linear scales provide precise positioning with repeatabilities to 0.5 ?m and accuracies to 3 ?m. The H116 is available with a 2- or 5-mm pitch ball screw. It features crossed roller ways, zero backlash recirculating ball screws, X and Y limit switches, and two high-precision stepper motors. Prior Scientific Inc., Rockland, MA; ph 800/877-2234, fax 781/878-8736, www.prior.com
ArF excimer laser series
This series of ArF excimer lasers meets the demands of all 193-nm production lithography systems. The NovaLine LITHO 193-0.7 has a bandwidth of 0.35 pm, minimizing chromatic aberration in refractive optical systems; pulse length is the longest yet reported - 60 ns integral square pulse duration - reducing the potential for laser damage by delivering the same amount of energy at a lower peak power level. With a bandwidth of 25 pm, the NovaLine LITHO 193-25 operates at up to 1 kHz repetition rate and delivers high energy stability for consistent exposures. Lambda Physik Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL; ph 954/486-1500, fax 954/486-1501.
O-BOY trace and percent oxygen analyzers give quick analysis of oxygen levels in most sample gas streams. Their sensor and cell block design provides high accuracy and fast response, and they are continuously temperature-compensated between 0 and -45?C. Also, the analyzers are unaffected by hydrocarbons and other oxidizable gases, so they can be used on a broad range of process gases. All models feature a high-performance electrochemical sensor, an easy-to-read LCD, front-panel access to the sensor, and RFI protection. Panel-mounted units feature standard O2 concentration alarms, dual outputs and control functions, automatic shutoff valves, removable wiring terminal strips, universal power supply, and the C.E. Mark. MEECO Inc., Warrington, PA; ph 215/343-6600, fax 215/343-4194.
Ultrasonic vortex flow meters
FloSonex flow meters, with ?1% accuracy, have no moving parts and no electronics within the pipe. The absence of moving parts means that there is no possibility of contamination. The meters use ultrasonic sensors located in removable yokes; the yoke design avoids temperature limitations and allows easy replacement without closing down the line. The units are all-plastic, for corrosion resistance, and an all-Teflon model is available for harsh environments such as wet bench operations. Flowsonex meters were developed specifically for the demands of ultrapure water and high-purity chemical piping systems. Asahi America Inc., Malden, MA; ph 800/343-3618, fax 800/426-7058.
Automated wet processor
The Poseidon STT is a single-tank, automated wet processor designed to maximize performance while reducing footprint, as well as chemical and water consumption. Wafers are placed carrierless into a single 8.5-liter wafer tank, where a high-velocity rinse allows a complete displacement of one medium by another in <60 sec. The processor measures 1.35 ? 1.49 sq m. Steag MicroTech Inc., Austin, TX; ph 512/438-1300, fax 512/438-1399, www.steag.com
ECR plasma cleaner
The PlasmaQuest Series Ii high-density ECR microwave enhanced plasma source achieves low surface contact angles and high organic etch rates, uniformly processing a 4-sq-ft area in minutes. Applications are for semiconductor packaging and flat panel processing. PlasmaQuest, Dallas, TX; ph 408/531-1312, www.plasmaquest.com
Fiber optic infrared thermometer
The M680 multichannel fiber optic infrared thermometer provides nonncontact temperature sensing in such processes as RTP, CVD, PVD, plasma etching, epitaxial reactors, and crystal growing. Its high-speed multichannel processor, combined with a custom-designed sapphire probe, allows very precise silicon wafer temperature measurement; and its very short wavelength filter permits measurement of the wafer backside with no influence from halogen lamp radiation. Temperature span is from 150 to 4000?C. Other features of the M680 include: accuracy of 0.2% of reading; repeatability of ?0.1?C; local display of temperature and emissivity/channel; RS 232 bi-directional computer link; and compact 1/4 DIN sized electronics. Mikron Instrument Co. Inc., Oakland, NJ; ph 800/631-0176, fax 201/405-0090.
Tip evaluation system
Available for all NanoScope Dimension and MultiMode scanning probe/atomic force microscopes, this tip evaluation system determines whether the tip meets a selected sharpness criterion or should be replaced. The package includes the proprietary tip evaluation software, as well as a roughness standard that is scanned as part of the evaluation. Based on the analysis, the software presents a worst-case tip sharpness in numerical and graphical form, including displaying an image of the tip itself. Digital Instruments, Santa Barbara, CA; ph 805/967-1400, fax 805/967-7717, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Magna-IR/ECO automated wafer profiling accessory offers users of the Magna-IR spectrometer the option of adding advanced wafer analysis capabilities to their systems. It can perform standard ECO analysis applications on wafers that range from 50 to 300 mm in diameter, and automated transmission and reflection analysis at pre-programmed wafer positions. The powerful OMNIC E.S.P. ECO software package controls the new wafer robotics that are integrated into the system. Nicolet Instrument Corp., Madison, WI; ph 608/276-6100, fax 608/273-5046.
Cleanroom ceiling module
Suited to height-limited overhead installation,the MAX 8000 ceiling module is a low-profile unit designed for use in cleanrooms, softwall cleanrooms, and isolated clean areas. Height is 13.5 in. and weight is 68 lbs. It is equipped with a HEPA filter that is 99.99% efficient on 0.3-?m and larger, and the face is 100% scanned as per Federal Standard 209. A 1-in. pre-filter is also included. Liberty Industries Inc., East Berlin, CT; ph 860/828-2637, fax 860/828-8879, www.liberty-ind.com
Semi-automatic probe station
Model 8860 is a stable and compact station for sub-?m semi-automatic probing. It is modular and can be configured with options that include integrated, shielded and dry environments, triaxial chucks and probes, as well as programmable controlled microscope drives and manipulators. Accessories - including laser cutters, manipulators, probes, and thermal chucks - allow for varied tests under normal to extreme conditions, including low current (<10fA), high voltage, or temperatures from -65 to 400?C. The Micromanipulator Co., Carson City, NV; ph 702/882-2400, fax 702/882-7694, e-mail email@example.com